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27. Jan 2012 - EnEff:Stadt Conference 2012: Accepting challenges, developing perspectives

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"Community contributions to the energy revolution" was the slogan for the first EnEff:Stadt Conference, which reviewed the progress made after four years of research and development. The German Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology (BMWi) has namely been supporting the efforts of local communities since 2007. This is because they ultimately play a decisive role in implementing the energy evolution in Germany: they determine the supply structure, the land-use plans and the energy standards in public buildings. The use of new technologies and modern planning tools can considerably increase their scope of possibilities, and this is precisely the approach taken by the EnEff:Stadt research initiative – by linking energy-based building refurbishment with decentralised communal supply technologies and by developing new planning methods and tools for urban districts. The development of energy concepts has begun in 15 pilot districts, with five of them already having reached an advance state of development.

The energy revolution – a turning point and challenge

At the beginning of the event, Dr. Knut Kübler (BMWi) emphasised the turning point that Germany’s energy industry is facing. The German federal government’s Energy Concept and 6th Energy Research Programme have set out the goals: it is planned to half primary energy consumption by 2050, with renewables providing 60% of the heating provision and 80% of the electricity provision. This requires a substantial reduction in the energy consumption – particularly through energy-efficient building refurbishment and urban renewal. Because, however, new technologies for refurbishing buildings are still too expensive in their application, this requires increased research, development and testing in concrete projects.

In his welcome address, Holger Lange, State Secretary of the Hamburg Department for Urban Development and the Environment, described how the energy revolution is gaining pace in Hamburg. Previous milestones have included its designation as "European Green Capital 2011", the climate protection master plans until 2020 and 2050, and Hamburg’s overall energy concept. Based on this, there has been increased refurbishment of the existing building stock and, on the generation side, negotiations have been conducted with local energy suppliers to build new storage power plants and expand district heating and combined heat and power generation. Since 2001, Hamburg has provided around 26 million euros in funding for the communal energy revolution. Current highlights include joint projects such as "Smart Power Hamburg", in which researchers and energy suppliers want to develop a smart grid based on the urban infrastructure (such as real estate properties and potential energy storage systems) and a platform for sharing services.

To conclude the first EnEff:Stadt Conference, Dr. Rodoula Tryfonidou from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology looked at the prospects for the future: in addition to technological developments, in future EnEff:Stadt and EnEff:Wärme will place a greater focus on acceptance and community involvement, user behaviour, the implementation of integral planning concepts and the development of cost-optimised solutions – aspects that are already becoming evident in the current 40 pilot projects.

Several of these projects are developing new planning methods, including simulation programs, with the intention of promoting their greater use in practice. A particular aspect is that all pilot projects are subject to detailed measurement-based monitoring in order to document the results achieved. The measurement data is also being made available to the wider scientific community beyond the individual projects for the purpose of further research work. With the book "Energetische Quartiersplanung" (Energy-oriented planning of urban districts), which was published at the beginning of 2011, the EnEff:Stadt accompanying research initiative provides an initial overview into the state of research in Germany and offers insights into innovative energy-based building refurbishment as well as the energy-efficient infrastructure of urban districts. In addition, existing energy-based district typologies have been further developed and will be incorporated into the research initiative’s concept.

The energy-based modelling at the community level mostly fails because of hurdles caused by the lack of data and expertise required for using the models. It is planned to remove these hurdles by, for example, simplifying the data analysis and exchange through suitable interfaces and by making the models more user friendly. The En:Sys initiative announced as part of the 6th Energy Research Programme is aimed at promoting the methodical further development of instruments for systems analysis, whereby the data collected in EnEff:Stadt provides the basis for this. In order to accelerate the transfer of expertise from these activities, it is intended to achieve a greater networking with national and international research programmes such as, for example, the EU’s "Smart Cities" SET plan.

Dr. Tryfonidou thanked the speakers, project leaders and all delegates for their expert contributions as well as the accompanying research projects and sponsors for their commitment.


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